independent

Monday 16 September 2019

Students unsure if they'll have a school place in 2020

Minister urged to urgently look at Greystones situation

Councillor Jennifer Whitmore
Councillor Jennifer Whitmore

Simon Bourke

The lack of secondary school places for children in the Greystones District is causing frustration and worry, with many students unsure if they will be able to attend a local school in 2020, a local Councillor has said.

Councillor Jennifer Whitmore has called on the Minister for Education Joe McHugh to prioritise the issue as a matter of urgency, saying it was time he began actively working with schools to ensure that all children who need a place in the locality will get one.

'It is really unacceptable that students, due to start secondary school in a little over a year's time, do not know if they will get a place in their locality. It is time that the Department of Education and the Minister treat this issue with the sense of urgency that it deserves.

'Whilst there are plans for a new secondary school for the Greystones/Kilcoole area to open in 2021, there is a considerable number of children who have still to secure a place for September 2020. I have recently asked that the Minister consider bringing forward the opening date of this new school to 2020 to accommodate those children,' said Cllr Whitmore.

'This seemed the obvious and most expedient thing to do. However, the Minister has declined to do so,' she said.

The Social Democrats Councillor added that, following a parliamentary question in the Dáil, the Minister indicated that the building projects planned for St David's and Coláiste Craobh Abhann will provide the additional places needed in the Greystones District.

However, pointing out that neither of these projects have started yet, Cllr Whitmore said she was concerned about the rate at which they were progressing, particularly with the 2020 academic year little over 12 months away.

An alternative solution which is being explored is additional temporary accommodation at existing schools and this is something which Cllr Whitmore feels is a viable alternative.

'I have this week spoken to Temple Carrig Secondary School to see if they would consider applying for temporary accommodation to help with the situation, and they are open to doing so. This would certainly help ease the pressure on school places and I would ask that the Minister and the Department work with Templecarrig and the other schools in our locality to examine that option,' she said.

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